MSC Magnifica Cruise Review by Janet&Carl: Magnificent Magnifica we had a fantastic holiday.
Overall Member Rating
Magnificent Magnifica we had a fantastic holiday.
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
I was expecting the worst after reading all the reviews but we had a fantastic cruise. The girls are 17 and 10 and they too had a fabulous time. We didnt get into the onboard activities much - we are fairly quiet and we dont drink very much or dance and gamble at all - we took plenty of books to read and we were always able to find a quiet spot either on our balcony or in one of the many lounges around. WE went to the theatre and the shows were stunning.
WE had no problems with the food. A massive buffet for breakfast and lunch with plenty of hot and cold choices, alternatively you could use the dining room and choose off a limited menu. We used the buffet which was very busy, at the start of the dining session it was crowded but as time went on (half hour in or so) the waiters opened up the back section and we aimed for that - much more relaxed and quieter. Dinner was great - fantastic service, the 10 year old ordered for herself and sometimes chose 3 main courses one from More the kids menu and two from the adults menu and her choices were served exactly as she ordered - even if she ordered "fries" that were not on the menu. I was very impressed with the food choices - we only ate 3 or 4 of the seven courses offered and there was plently of choice for each course.
Some Italians are a little hard to take but certainly not all. The queue jumping and pushing in happened a lot but after my 10 year old was standing in a queue with her empty plate for over half an hour and not progressing forward we decided on the "if you cant beat them join them approach". I must say I was slightly peeved by the end of the week. They also smoke a lot but the ship had lots of no smoking areas and we didnt go to the bars and casino where you are allowed to smoke.
WE used the internet which was the equivalent of $30AUS per hour which we thought was outrageous. The staff were always friendly, helpful and courteous. We sometimes had little mistakes because not all of them speak English but we expected that and it didnt bother us.
My youngest used the kids club for the first couple of days - she was the only english speaker there and the other kids were much younger than her. When she hooked up with a couple of English speaking Danes at dinner she was off and we hardly ever saw her. We got her to check in by telephone to the cabin and we let her know when she had to be back to get ready for dinner etc. WE had bought her a watch and made sure she used it so we didnt have to go chasing around the ship for her. She was independent and happy.
The ports were fantastic but I felt that the ship excursions were too expensive. We opted for our own excursions booked on-line before we left and they worked out great. We did the same stuff as the ships excursions for a fraction of the price and with private tours just for the four of us instead of going on a crowded bus with a crowd of people.
Getting on and off the ship was easy - never any delays.
Our first port of call was Bari which was on Sunday. Not a very exciting port but worth a walk around the town and a visit to the fort and cathedral. There was a tourist person inside the terminal building handing out free maps and giving directions on what order to see things. We followed her directions and had a leisurely walk around for about 4 hours.
After leaving the ship there were tour guides inside the port gates offering tours for 20 Euro each and a little train type vehicle. Out side the port gates these same tours were 10 Euro. Bari is easy enough to do by foot. Just turn right outside the port gate and follow your map to the fort, then into the old town area to do the cathedral and church.
The same tour by ship excursion was $40 Euro each. Less
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Cabin review: 910074
WE had a cabin that had a veranda and was called a family suite. It was spacious enough but the balcony although at the side of the ship faced back. I would have preferred forward facing. But there were four of us and it was comfortable. WE had a king size bed and two single beds which was the couch during the day. On the veranda there were only two seats and a little table,we asked for more chairs out there but didnt get them. The bathroom was cosy. The beds were extremely comfortable. The service was fantastic.
Port and Shore Excursions
We relented and caught a cab - the driver offered us a tour for 70 Euro for 5 hours.The sights were fantastic. And yes we did the carpet demonstration and bought a lovely silk carpet which I think we paid too much for judging by the beaming smiles on the faces of the sales crew after the deal was done. The taxi driver was great took us to all the right places - we felt uncomfortable when he pushed in the front of queues but we had a fantastic day. WE saw the Blue Mosque, St Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the underground cistern, had lunch at the spice market(5 of us for 5 Euro)and then did some shopping. Returning to the boat in plenty of time.
Ephesus is well worth seeing but is a long drive from the ship. It takes approx one hour to get there - depending on the traffic. We got stuck in traffic on the way back but I had asked to leave early so we wouldnt be caught out - however we made it back with only minutes to spare because of the traffic jam. The only thing that was a saving grace was the msc tour buses backed up behind us.
You can get to Olympia and back on a little train which cost just 1 Euro and leaves from just outside the port. The timetable is limited and didnt suit us as our onboard time was 12.30 and we didnt want to be late. I've pasted the timetable below for your information.
Katakolon to Olympia Train Timetable departure 08.25 arrive 09.06 departure 10.55 arrive 11.41 departure 12.52 arrive 13.44 departure 14.51 arrive 15.38
Olympia - Purgos - Katakolon departure 11.46 arrive 12.28 departure 13.48 arrive 14.32 departure 15.43 arrive 16.32 Olympia is 25 miles inland from Katakolon, the new train is very modern, clean and air conditioned, the cost is 1 euro each way and it takes about 45 minutes
This little fishing village is a lovely quaint few streets totally geared up for the arrival of ships with lots of souvenir shops. I thought the things in the shops were quite cheap but as the cruise went on we saw cheaper. I looked for a little sponge as the shower only had liquid soap and we didnt have a flannel or sponge to use but was only able to see a sea sponge and a ridiculous price.
You can buy an all day Vaperetto ticket for 16 Euro. This is the best way to get around and you can go all over. The Vaperetto's are easy to use and frequent.
We disembarked in Venice - we had another cruise booked on the Splendida so the transfer to Genoa was all arranged by MSC. We just boarded the bus ready for our next adventure.
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